Murphy’s Fall


Murphy’s Fall?

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to something that you have or will possibly go through.  I have coined the term “Murphy’s Fall”Murphy’s Fall isn’t the fall of Murphy.  Instead it is something you yourself go through because of Murphy.  That’s right.  It’s what can happen when Murphy has moved in and just doesn’t want to leave.  It could be equivalent to what marathoners call “The Wall”, which is when a marathoner reaches the 20 mile mark and starts to rationalize giving up.  It’s when you start to tell yourself that you have already made more progress than most people, so quitting isn’t so bad.  You may be tired, frustrated, depleted, and your hope is at an all time low.  Frankly, you have fallen away from the hope and determination that you had when you first started your Total Money Makeover.


I decided that it was time for me to write about this because for the past three and a half months I have experienced this symptom of not making any progress.  When we first started our Total Money Makeover (TMMO), we were excited, and we made great strides because of it.  We sold our car (saving us almost $500 between the car payment, high insurance costs, and property taxes), and paid off almost $5,000 in credit card debt, and old medical bills.  This left us with $5,000 until we would be debt free except for our house—or so we thought.  We also managed to save $2,000 for our Emergency Fund. (Savings for the first time EVER!) EXCITING STUFF!!  I was PUMPED! Then Murphy decided that we were just too happy, and that it was time he paid us a visit.  This would be Murphy’s first visit since we began our TMMO.

The LOW!

First we received a letter in the mail, letting us know that we owed an additional $4,000 from a student loan on top of the $5,000 in other student loans.  A $4,000 jump all because we forgot about that particular loan.  Next we had car trouble, some more car trouble, and yet a third round of car trouble.  Throw in having to adjust to my wife having a new schedule as a Registered Nurse, and then me being forced to take time off at my job to be with Isaac until we figured something out.  My wife went to nights, I went to days, and everything was taken care of.  Or so we thought.  After about 6 weeks, Alana was told with absolutely NO notice at all, that she would be moving to days.  Now we needed to make some different arrangements.  Child care was unavoidable.  Still I was forced to take off some more time from work until we were able to find daycare quick and in a hurry.  Wait, I’m not done! Next I get a hernia from freaking coughing, and am out of work for 3 weeks.  “We have done so much more than most people!” This started to creep into my thoughts periodically until it was eventually considered rational thought.


In short, with all that going on, I have been really frustrated.  We have made little progress since the video that I made.  I am constantly thinking about how we are not paying any of our debt snowball down.  We still owe $9,000 and we were supposed to be out of debt except for the house by September or October at the latest.  I am coordinating a Financial Peace University class, and I am struggling with trying to remain positive and excited for the class members sake.  It has been hard.  The truth is, it’s not that I have lost faith in our Total Money Makeover.  NOT AT ALL!  I have lost faith in myself!  I have let Murphy take me down, and my hope came tumbling down with it.  Things seemed to reach an all time low.  But has it really?


How can I truly be at an all time low?  I can’t or maybe it’s better to say that I shouldn’t be.  Here’s why. In less than a year we have cut up and paid off ALL of our credit cards, eliminated a car debt (saving us $8,500), managed to save $2,000 in our Emergency Fund, and with all of that doom and gloom above we have still been able to make it without borrowing any money at all.  The absolute truth is that we have not even had a hard time making it through all this.  Our bills have been paid extremely early compared to how we were living last year at this time.  In fact, our mortgage is usually paid before the first of the month.  So I must ask myself this:  Why am I crying and most importantly why have I felt defeated?

I have felt this way because I have been thinking about the wrong stuff.  Instead of thinking about the good, I have been analyzing the bad.  Successful people are solution oriented, and they rarely think about the past.  That is why it is called the past because it is gone, and you can’t do anything about it.  I should have been looking at how easily we were able to find solutions that did not include borrowing money or not paying our bills. Had I been looking at it differently, I would have been getting hope and encouragement from our new found financial responsibility.  I realized something all over again.  WE ARE NOT LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK ANY MORE! That is something to be celebrating, not something to be depressed about!  We have a plan, and it IS working.

My Message To YOU!

Please don’t let Murphy get the best of you!  You are still winning if you still have a plan.  As long as you do not have to go backwards you will always be in better shape than you were before!  Go FORWARD!  Think POSITIVE! As long as you remind yourself of how far you have come, and avoid thinking about how things have not gone exactly like planned, you will be okay.  One thing that I am sure of is that plans often take unexpected turns along the way.  The key is to adjust and continue to follow the road in the direction of your goals.  Don’t let “Murphy’s Fall” get the best of you!  You are going to win, that I am sure of!


Have you experienced Murphy’s Fall?  Share your story in the comments section.




About Brad Chaffee

12 Responses to “Murphy’s Fall”

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  1. KickingMurphy says:

    Thank you for the encouragement. We have struggled with Murphy for the last eight years. We have avoided more than $12,000 in debt (paid for emergencies with cash). Thanks for reminding me of that – I needed it, especially after our bank used their “creative accounting” to steal two paychecks from us so far this month (see MT – Spanish Inquisition thread).

  2. Chuck says:

    Excellent reminder to stay focused on the positive.
    Its extremely hard to stay positive when you are at the point of the slow monthly grind of whittling down your snowball. Your point of that you have a plan and it is working and your not living paycheck to paycheck is great. Remember how to eat an elephant, one bite at a time, lol. Terrific post Brad.

  3. Brad Chaffee says:

    Kicking Murphy: <~~I love that! It is so wonderful that you were able to avert racking up $12,000 of debt. I hope with our troubled economy people have a chance to truly reflect on what's important to them, so they can finally understand why being prepared is so important. You are doing a fantastic job of fighting the fight. It can be won! Dave Ramsey Show listeners prove it everyday. Here's to you completing your goals and dreams. Just remember that Murphy takes many shapes, and some of those shapes are called other people's mistakes. I hope you will be able to get your money back. Thanks for your comments! 🙂 Chuck: Thanks dude! I should be grateful that my elephant is finally a baby! $7,000 is not far to go. It won't be long now. When life happens you just have to start happening right back! 🙂

  4. mikki says:

    Yes Brad you have done great, most of all you have been my encouragement in the midst of all this. Murphys cousins is gonna be with me at my house. broke,desperate and stupid lol. But I have a plan for them, they wont be staying long.


  5. Brad Chaffee says:

    Thanks Mikki! We have both helped each other along the way. It’s so good to have an accountability buddy like you! 🙂

  6. Peacebug says:

    We’re budgeting pretty tightly now because of certain circumstances, though we are out of debt but the house and have a fully funded emergency fund. I see the emergency fund as for true emergencies, and thus will not touch it. Murphy hit us last week in the form of our pets…and actually the way I see it, it was my company’s fault.

    We were forced to board our three dogs because I was forced to go to HQ. We don’t board them any more because we have a wonderful dogsitter who comes to our home. Much less stress on the dogs, no exposure to vaccines I feel they do not need, and very inexpensive. I was already resentful of having to go to HQ for four days…imagine my horror when I came home to…

    a 270 dollar vet bill. Boarding x 3. Kennel cough vaccine x 3. Nail trim x 3 at 14 bucks each!!! Then “medication administration” at a dollar each time, three times a day, times three dogs, plus the medication itself. Seems the dogs had gotten tummy trouble due to the stress. Due to this “tummy trouble” (you can use your imagination) they REEKED, so I had to get them bathed the next day. Another 72 dollars gone.

    We’d budgeted 90 dollars for petsitting this month (that’s three days with our lovely petsitter) plus 50 dollars for miscellaneous pet stuff. We’re doing the budget shuffle to find the rest of the money. The company will eventually (by “eventually” I mean “by the end of the year, probably”) reimburse me for the boarding and kennel cough vaccine, but that doesn’t help me for October.

    Oy. So, you asked for Murphy stories…there’s one.

  7. Sonja says:

    You have done such a great job weaving through the land-mines of life. Yes, murphy pays a visit to all of us. My husband has run our bikes into the garage 3 times. Every time we look at each other and scream “The Bikes!!!”. But, we always laugh about it, because what else can you do, you have to turn bad experiences into life lessons. I feel blessed that I have a great husband to navigate though this with.

    Your 7K will disappear when Murphy takes a vacation. You are so focused that when things finally do let up, that debt will fly out the door. Just think of it like “training”!

    Sonja´s last blog post..Kona Perspective

  8. Darla says:

    Hey Brad, thanks for joining in on BD! What a great giveaway. YOU are a very generous family.

    Darla´s last blog post..Sweet Onion Teriyaki Sauce for Glazed Chicken Recipe

  9. Brad Chaffee says:

    Peacebug: Welcome to you over here in EOD Land! So glad to see you and I appreciate your comments. I am going to be debt free just like you one day soon Peacebug. You will definitely know when it happens. All of you will.

    Sonja: Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for your uplifting comments. I checked out your site and am looking forward to asking you for a few tips on running a half marathon.

    Darla: No problem at all. You are my buddy and I just feel lucky to have the privilege to be a guest writer. It is such a wonderful site and calling it comprehensive isn’t even doing it justice! For real! You ladies do a fabulous job! You know you have my mouth watering for all your crock pot recipes right? I can’t wait to try the Sloppy Joe one. Mmm mmm!


  10. Darla says:

    May everyone have as good a heart as you and your family, Brad. Amazing.

    Darla´s last blog post..Sweet Onion Teriyaki Sauce for Glazed Chicken Recipe

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